Kung Fu Suicide
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I have tickets to the Shaolin master kung-fu thing. They cost $45 or something. My girlfriend used her credit card. She has the tickets. I knock on her door.
Things haven't been good. A few days ago I stopped talking to her. We were still together 24-hours a day. I just stopped talking. She asked if anything was wrong. She asked about 20 times. At first I said no. Nothing is wrong. Then I said yes, but that I didnít know what was wrong. Then I said I just felt like shit. Then she stopped asking.
We donít talk on the train. We are on our way to Shaolin. It's cold out. I start to notice things. Like how trapped I am. How I live in an apartment with roommates and how the city is an island, really, and how outside the city there are rivers and mountains and goats, and other animals. And how I'm going to college for ďundecided. Ē And how I work at the library. It took weeks to get that job. Weeks I don't want to do again. So I'm trapped at the library. And each day there is more stuff in my room. My girlfriend says things like, We've been together for whatever amount of time so we should try and work things out. Sometimes I want to throw her out the window. I really do. The fourteenth floor. A few months ago I threw a beach ball out her window and we laughed. Now every couple of days she tells me she's unhappy. She wants to hang out with her friends, she wants me to be friends with her friends, she wants to have sex more, she wants ďspace,Ē etc.
We're at the Shaolin thing. Our seats are not too good. The martial art monks look like G.I. Joe figures. They flip around and mock fight each other. I stare at them. The lights are out except on the stage. Every once in a while people clap. It's comfortable in here. My girlfriend sits to my left. At intermission, she goes to the bathroom. I do too. I look at her face as she comes back to sit down. (A few months later after we break up she reads this story and says she didnít get up to go the bathroom. She got up to cry in the hall. ) I start wishing she was funnier, not so sentimental, smarter, prettier and more interested in The Lawrence Arms and Lorrie Moore. Overall I just wish she were exactly like me.
On the train back we donít talk. I imagine being one of the Shaolin monks. I'd walk on Broadway after midnight when there arenít that many people. But I wouldn't walk. I would do flips instead of walking. I wonder if Iíd be happy if that was my life. I would stand in one spot doing flips. I would have a McDonald's cup on the ground for cash donations. Off the subway I look at my girlfriend and think about how much I don't like her. She lives across the hall in the schoolís dorm building. I look at her. Her head is really big, way too big. I'm just not attracted to her. What if I told her this? She would cry. We go in the dorm building. I stand in front of the elevators. She keeps walking. There are more elevators in back. I say her name. She keeps walking. I accept this. I take the elevator to my room.
In my room I masturbate to Internet porn. I mess around with my computer. My roommate isnít here. He went somewhere for Winter Break. I look around my room. There's an acoustic guitar, about 40 books, 100 CDs, a snare drum, half a dozen drumsticks, and many other things. I pick up a drumstick and throw it across the room. It hits the wall and lands on the guitar, wedges in the strings. I call my girlfriend. She doesn't answer. I keep calling. I feel angry that she isnít answering. I think, She's not answering because she knows I'll keep calling. I know I'm not good enough to get another girlfriend. So I keep calling. Finally she answers.
She comes over. I let her in. We are calm and polite. We have sex quietly. Alone in the shower I think about the Shaolin monks. I wonder if they ever get sad, if they ever feel the weight of things, the pressure of it all, a kind of thing they can't feel, actually, because there is no weight, and then there's the lessening of weight, a pull away, like they're becoming less and might float away. I wonder if the Shaolin monks ever get that way. I wonder what the Shaolin monks do when they feel that way. If they have a special jump kick routine that instantly cures it. Some kind of mood-enhancing roundhouse-kick exercise.
Out of the shower I turn off the lights and lie on my bed adjacent my girlfriend. I don't tell her I'm happy. I don't say I never want to fight again. I don't touch her hair and say I love her. I lie on my side because the bed is too small and she is on her back taking up most of the space. I say I'm going to sleep. She says okay.
I wake up depressed. I feel afraid that I'll always from now on wake up depressed. My stomach hurts for some reason. We go down the hall to her room to make food. I notice how ugly she is in the morning. I follow behind her. Neither of us knows if the other is angry, sad, unsatisfied, or what. So we don't say anything. It seems to take a very long time to walk down the hall to her room. I think about punching a hole in a wall, like the Terminator. I'd punch a hole in the wall and rip out some kind of pipe. Water would burst into the hallway. I would look at it.
In her room I sit on her bed. I think about jumping out her window. I think that it would be scary falling for so long. Maybe 5 or 10 seconds. I'd get that weird feeling in my stomach. And what would my last words be? Would I try to be funny and say I'm going to the deli for a sandwich? Would I be melodramatic and tell her I will always love her? Would I apologize for everything? What if I jump kicked out the window? I imagine this and almost laugh.I lie on her bed. I tell her my stomach hurts. I pull the blanket over everything but my head. I try to sleep. She sits on the bed with a book. She is reading a book. I think of the word fuck. Fuck her. No, not intercourse. Not that fuck. I try and clarify in my mind. I can't. I open my eyes a little, so that I can see her but she can't tell I'm looking. She's reading her book. Something pretentious. I think about her pretentiousness. I feel pretentious. I close my eyes. I secretly hate everyone in the world. I think I'm better than everyone else. I wonder if anyone else is like this. I hate myself for being like this. I try to close my eyes. But they're already closed.
TAO LIN Ė The author of a novel, Eeeee Eee Eeee (Melville House, 2007), a story-collection, Bed (Melville House, 2007), and two poetry collections, You Are A Little Bit Happier Than I Am (Action Books, 2006), and the forthcoming Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (Melville House, 2008). His web site is called Reader Of Depressing Books and he lives in New York City.
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